STEM activities are amazing in their ability for adaptation no matter the grade level. STEM activities for second graders, for example, can be put to use for that grade or even to the ones above and below it. The second grade of school is a tremendous time to introduce STEM activities or reinforce their importance. The engagement of children in this age group is paramount. You need to teach children, but also let them explore and learn on their own.
Introducing quick STEM activities to children presents different opportunities in new and unique ways. With creativity in mind, you can engage your students and allow them to take their learnings to the next level. You can use various activities for subjects across the board that includes math, science, engineering, technology, and alike. There are plenty of quick and easy STEM activities for 2nd grade students that require little prep that might spark immense engagement.
Related post: Pre-K STEM Activities
Determining the Makeup of the Group
One of the first things you need to do before you plan out your STEM activities is to think of the makeup of the group. Even in second grade, you’re going to have children of a variety of different skill levels and overall development stages. To spark the development of all children, you need STEM activities that are accessible to all.
Even going beyond general accessibility, you also need to spark engagement. Engagement of the second grade age level will come down to understanding their interests. If you have a group very curious with the science subject or math, STEM activities in these areas will likely get better reception. You can also use STEM activities, though, to help children engage in subjects they show minimal interest in up to that point.
Adapting STEM Activities for the Second Grade
As with all and any STEM activities, you can adapt them to your particular group of children. Going through this process can allow you to make the activities accessible across the board. For the second grade age level, you will get to introduce a lot, but not all of it will get the attention you expect. Tweak things as you go, even from year to year as your class fills with new second graders, or parents as you have children mature and grow older from one sibling to the next.
Ideas to Help You Bring STEM to the Second Grade
So now you are ready to bring these quick and easy STEM activities for 2nd-grade classrooms. The great thing about these STEM activities is they require little prep and materials easy to obtain, carrying little cost with them as well. Also, you can do these activities no matter the size of the class, making them easy to try over and over again with different sets of individuals.
1. Science Activity — The Balance Scale
One of the first quick and easy STEM activities to highlight for the second grade is the balance scale. All you need for this activity is going to be string, a few cups, as well as a hanger. With all of this setup, you can connect the cups to the hanger with a string. Show the children how filling one cup can put the hanger out of balance one way or another. This helps to show them how balance works and also shows them how certain materials carry more weight to them than others.
2. Math Activity — Counting With Pipe Cleaners
Another great STEM activity is to learn to count using something as simple as pipe cleaners and making use of beads. Take the pipe cleaners and start to label them with numbers, using sticky notes. Let the children look at the numbers and decide as to the bigger and the smaller numbers.
You can then have the children use the beads to fill out the pipe cleaners, starting to add beads to the cleaners one at a time until the number of beads on the pipe cleaners matches the number of beads on the sticky note. This can show them in a fun way how to count and also to show them how the numbers increase, so do the number of beads.
3. Engineering — Straw Building
Do you have some straws laying around the house? They could be plastic straws or even paper straws. Using these straws in conjunction with tape, scotch tape or some other kind can net you a great STEM activity for second-grade children.
Allow the children to work in groups or isolation. Give them each a set of straws as well as tape and allow them to creatively come up with ways to build a bridge. Once built, you can then experiment to see the ability of the bridge to hold objects, checking on its strength and improving the structure over time.
4. Science and Engineering — Shelter Building
The great thing about this STEM activity is you can use a variety of materials laying around the house. You can use cardboard, thick paper, magazines, blocks, tape, etc. Present the child with a series of objects as well as a figure that they intend to protect in the shelter.
With all of the different materials in front of them, the children should work to create a shelter to keep the figure as dry as possible. Do this on a cookie sheet to catch the water as you test it out. Once you build the structure, use a water bottle to squirt water to test the structure.
Second Graders Love STEM
STEM activities for 2nd graders show the love these kids have for these exercises. Watching their faces as they try out all of these different things is an amazing sight. AS an educator or a parent, you want quick and easy things to engage, spark development, learning, and more. With these simple, quick, and easy 2nd grade STEM activities, children in second grade and even beyond can learn in new ways with hands-on approaches. Even as kids get older, you can take these and adapt them, making them more difficult to tweak the lesson over time.